Caregivers are my peeps. Whether you are taking care of someone with a chronic illness, or a special needs person, or have lost your person this post is for you.
Let’s keep it real. It is as bad as you feel that it is.
Don’t get me wrong, I would do it all again. I don’t regret a minute of the time I spent taking care of my husband. However, we don’t really talk about the specifics of taking care of another person, and the toll it takes on our own bodies and mental health.
It’s as if it somehow minimizes our love for them, to acknowledge how hard it is. Yet, it is because of our love for them that we deal with the difficulties of actually being in some cases responsible for someone living or dying.
It started with a bad mammogram, and I ended up needing to have two masses removed from my breast. It went on for about 6 months without us knowing whether or not the masses were cancerous. We were terrified. I was primarily terrified that I would have cancer, and not be able to take care of Mike, and all of the hideousness of possibly leaving Brooke motherless.
As it turns out, one of the masses was precancerous cells, and now I have an increased risk of getting breast cancer, and have to be monitored very closely.
Last week, I had to go for what is now a yearly mammogram. During the obligatory breast squeezing, I had a grief trigger. I went back to when Mike was in the hospital for the last time, and I had to have the surgery to remove the masses. My sister and cousin were with me. I wanted and needed my husband.
I needed my husband.
Leading up to the surgery, I had had a series of panic attacks, I guess being told you may have cancer while taking care of your husband with cancer can be stressful. Who knew? Lol
So the morning of the surgery the dr had given me a zanax pill, and told me to take it the morning of the surgery. If you have never taken one of these pills, apparently it can calm you. I was so relaxed I was basicly asleep within minutes of taking it.
It was like an I love Lucy episode, which ended up with me barely conscious, laying across the mammogram machine, with my legs barely able to hold me. My sister explained my situation to the techs, and the surgery to remove the masses proceeded as scheduled.
I thought of all of this the other day during my now yearly mammogram. I was reminded of how horrid that time in my life was. It was as bad as it sounds. After years of taking care of my person, I wanted my person with me during what was a horrible time for me. I deserved it. What’s more important, he deserved to be there for me. Just another thing cancer takes from you. The ability to be there for your person when they need you most.
I was lonely for him then, and I am alone now.
It’s the reality of losing your person.
It’s as bad as you think it is.